2019 Bills

HB 431: Automatic Expungement for Certain Cases

This bill passed the House and Senate unanimously. 

Libertas Institute supports this bill

Staff review of this legislation finds that it is aligned with our principles and merits support.

Life after a conviction can be extremely difficult—even if the crime was relatively minor. With a glaring mark on their record, individuals with a criminal background will have a harder time securing a job, finding housing, and qualifying for loans for school or a car, for example. When a person has completed their sentence and paid all of the necessary fines and fees, they shouldn’t have to be forever haunted by a past mistake. But removing a criminal record through the process of expungement can be burdensome, in cost and time, to the average individual—if they even know about the process at all..

In order to allow people to move forward with their lives, free from their past faults, Representative Hutchings is sponsoring House Bill 431. This bill would require automatic expungements for the criminal records of individuals who have committed certain misdemeanors. For the crimes that qualify, courts will automatically expunge class C misdemeanors after five years, class B after six, and class A after seven so long as the individual has complied with their court-ordered terms. Quicker automatic expungements will also apply for individuals who were acquitted of a crime or had charges dropped.

The automatic expungements will also apply to most traffic infractions and misdemeanors after a certain period of time, allowing people to move past minor traffic crimes in addition to criminal history.

Automatic expungements will help thousands of people who have old criminal records looming over their lives by removing the record and freeing them of the burden of having to navigate the process themselves. It will rid them of their stained past on applications and background checks so they can have a fair chance at succeeding in life.